Fri 2 Nov – Jens Lekman, Dave Fischoff, Viktor Sjöberg
Oh, Jens. Only you could pull me out of my enclave on a cold, cold night after I’ve spent the entire day on an airplane. And you can scold me for doubting how your intimacy would translate to a venue the shape of a high school gymnasium. You pulled it off and, dare I say, it was the most glorious show I’ve ever seen you do.
I was to the left side of the stage when a burly bouncer told us all to back up as the band were coming through. And they did so in a perfect line of heavenly white and smiles. My excitement woke me up.
Taking the stage in matching white patent lace-up shoes, various white smock tops and dresses and button down shirts, and appliquéd birds, it was Jens and the girls (ok, and Viktor Sjöberg fiddling on a laptop occasionally over there in the corner) here to slay us all. Even though I miss those cozy shows with Jens and two or three others singing softly to us, with the addition of strings and brass, his songs are given the glorious treatment they deserve live.
He played many songs off the new “album” (I hesitate to call it an album as his full-lengths are always compilations of songs, and with “…Kortedala” I had heard a number of the songs in different incarnations previously). “The Opposite of Hallelujah
” sounded magnificent. His rambling intro to “Nina, I Can be Your Boyfriend
” made everyone collapse in giggles. The way “It Was a Strange Time in My Life
” bled into “Black Cab
” caused us all to jump in glee. He didn’t kill the party this time, oh no.
There was a funny moment after the second or third song where Jens told us about the bad ending he’d had to the night before in Cleveland. Apparently some hipster dude had hurt his feelings with misplaced words! Poor Jens had a fitful night’s sleep, but woke up with the sound of Billy Corgan’s voice in his head, “We’ll crucify the insincere tonight…” And with that, Jens did
slay the insincere with his songs this night.
In addition to a crisp, uniformed front, the band treated us to a few choreographed moves. It was early in the set that a soul breakdown came on through the laptop in the middle of a song, and Jens and the band beckoned at the audience in a come hither
fashion. Ooh. Then during “Sipping On The Sweet Nectar
", the music stopped, a programmed beat came in, and the entire band put their instruments down to flail about onstage as if they were airplanes. How wonderfully appropriate! How I wanted to join them!
“The Cold Swedish Winter
” made the sold out crowd go utterly quiet. I struggled to keep my eyes from spilling over. Who doesn’t want someone to hold through the cold winter nights? And in “Maple Leaves
,” you’ve got to wonder just who
is denying Jens.
I think the band played two encores. It finally came down to just Jens and his guitar (reminiscent of the edge-of-the-stage serenades of yore by him and his ukulele). The last song he played was “Pocketful of Money
;” certainly not one of my favorite songs. But the audience sang the deep voice sampled on the song’s record, and it became a call-and-response between us and him, going on and on. When it finished, Jens told us that he’d said to Washington, DC that their rendition was the best, but he confirmed that we had now ousted them!
Viktor took to his laptop after Jens left, and a few people stayed around to dance and see what our darling Swede was up to. He graciously signed loads of posters and took even more pictures, newly bedecked in a grey suit and black scarf. Apparently he even capped off the night with some more strumming and singing at somebody’s house which, of course, I am sorry to have missed, but I am grateful for every experience I have with Mr. Lekman.